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Nature Is Gay: Is It Natural to Be a Homosexual?
Homosexuality stirs up a lot of controversy in some social constructs and religious beliefs systems. Many of these systems come up with a bunch of reasons to question homosexuality as normal, attaching it to concepts like sin and blaming it as a cause of sexual diseases. There are many such misconceptions and at the root of them all is ignorance.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that homosexuality is not natural, and that because of this marriage and sexual relations should be between a man and a woman.
Definitions of natural:
When an individual uses the above argument that homosexuality is not natural, there are a few definitions of natural that may apply.
The first is:
1. existing in or formed by nature (as opposed to artificial); based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature
In this sense, nature dictates what is ordinary and from that you can determine what is abnormal or unnatural. If it occurs in nature, it’s acceptable, and if it doesn’t, it’s not acceptable.
The second and third are:
2. in accordance with human nature
3. as is normal or to be expected; ordinary or logical
These two definitions are well related and it’s a probable use of the word “natural”. In this sense, things that are natural are only things that are normal or expected out of human nature. If it’s a common occurrence in humans, it’s natural, and if it’s not, it’s unnatural.
It doesn’t matter which of the two definitions you use; either one makes for a flawed argument against homosexuality.
Fallacies with the argument
The first definition
If you’re using the first definition, you’re claiming that things that occur in nature are, well, natural, and anything that doesn’t occur is an abomination. Therefore, if homosexuality doesn’t occur in nature, then homosexuality is abnormal.
A major breach of logic with this argument is the assumption that humans are not part of nature. If you’re using nature as a standard for measuring things that are normal or abnormal, then naturally anything humans do must be included because we are part of nature.
We tend to think we’re a separate entity (perhaps due to a misconception that we are divine or somehow better than nature), but there is no way of proving that.
While we are growing more and more distant to the picture of nature that we tend to relate to, everything we own and use is a refined form of nature, like the desk you are using and the chair you are sitting on. Regardless, to this day there are still many indigenous tribes that live amongst nature.
Even if you were asserting that humans aren’t part of nature, by definition humans are automatically “abnormal” or “unnatural” and therefore your argument against homosexuality is pointless at best.
Let’s assume humans aren’t part of nature, just for fun. Your argument is still bogus.
Why? Because homosexuality does occur in nature.
Birds, apes, lions, elephants, giraffes, domesticated animals, lizards and even bed bugs have demonstrated homosexual or bisexual behavior.
For the sake of this (failing) argument, let’s disregard all of those observed instances and simply say that it was out of competition or dominance amongst these animals. Or maybe sin affects animals too. Yeah sure, why not?
Fair enough. Enter Cnemidophorus neomexicanus.
There’s not a whole lot to say about C. neomexicanus. It’s a species of lizard found in New Mexico (hence the name), Arizona and northern Mexico. They’re grow anywhere from 16.5 to 23 cm and have seven yellow stripes running down its length. Oh, and they’re all female.
You read that right. Every one of the members of C. neomexicanus is female. They reproduce by parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction.
What’s curious about this species is that they still undergo a courtship, or more appropriately “mock mating”. One of the females plays the role of the male to stimulate ovulation in the (other) female.
In other words, they are lesbian.
Many types of lizards and insects do this regularly, with insects having a wide variety of mechanisms for parthenogenesis.
Some species of crustaceans and sharks are also able to vary between sexual and parthenogenetic reproduction.
Even turkeys are able to reproduce parthenogenetically.
Some animals take this one step further and undergo entire sexual changes.
The clownfish has a reproductive hierarchy of a large female, a smaller reproductive male, and many smaller non-reproductive males.
If the female dies or is removed, the reproductive male changes sex and becomes female, and the largest non-reproductive male matures and is able to reproduce.
Some animals go even further than that and are born with both female and male reproductive parts.
Hermaphrodites include snails, slugs and earthworms. They sometimes decide to be male, and sometimes decide to be female.
"No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue."
Petter Bøckman, scientific advisor of Against Nature?, an exhibition of homosexual behavior in animals.
Some even practice self-fertilization, like the banana slug. Not to mention the many plants and bacteria that have asexual reproduction as their only means of reproduction.
So not only is homosexuality acceptable in nature, so is hermaphroditism.
And while I’m on this point, to supporters of the belief that life was designed by an all-powerful creator and that evolution is a lie – can you please explain why the creator decided to make homosexual animals, all-female species and hermaphrodites?
What kind of design is that from a god that doesn’t approve of homosexuals (at least in some religions)?
But anyway, moving on.
The second definition
Clearly the first definition has too many flaws to even consider. How about the second?
By using the second definition you are claiming that things that occur naturally are things that occur in human development. So if throughout human history there have been no cases of homosexuality in humans, then homosexuality is abnormal. And because of that, homosexuality is wrong (somehow).
The main flaw here is that, whenever humans do anything, just the mere occurrence of the event makes it a possible natural event. Does that make it ordinary or expected? No, but neither is being born blind or having multiple fingers (polydactyly) or being left handed, and none of those things are met with such controversy as homosexuality (at least in modern times – I remember when people weren’t allowed to write with their left hand).
In that regard, why is being unexpected or unusual a problem? It’s unreasonable to hate a person for being blind or for writing with their left hand or for having more than 20 fingers and toes. Our differences create our identity and can be used to unite us in ways we could never imagine. Being different than the norm is not a bad thing.
Of course, being different is usually met with hate. Is the scrutiny on homosexuality by the religious simply because their book says it’s evil, or is it out of fear combined with a little ignorance?
Let’s assume that being abnormal is inherently evil (somehow), so everyone that has a rare condition like cystic fibrosis or Down syndrome is evil.
There is still a flaw in the assertion that being a homosexual is not a commonly occurred event in humans, when it clearly is in modern times. Even historically when gays weren’t socially accepted there have been instances of homosexuals.
356 to 323 BC – One of history’s best tacticians, Alexander the Great, was known to have a sexual relationship with his close friend and general Hephaestion.
256 to 195 BC – Emperor Gaozu of Han, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty in China, was a homosexual. He was one of ten homosexual emperors of the Han Dynasty.
12 AD to 41 AD and 76 to 138 AD – Roman emperors like Hadrian and Caligula or Gaius were both homosexual.
I’m not gay, but I have a few close friends who are. One of them denies it to death and it saddens me to see him suppress it so much. It’s totally fine dude. We all accept you for who you are. You can come out of the closet now.
1452 to 1519 – Perhaps the most diversely talented man to ever have lived, Leonardo da Vinci was also a homosexual.
1840 to 1873 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, an extremely talented Russian composer of the Romantic era, was a homosexual. He suffered emotionally and psychologically due to its suppression.
1854 to 1900 – One of London’s most popular playwrights of the early 1890s, Oscar Wilde was involved in many homosexual relationships in a time where homosexual acts were considered illegal.
Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy and many indigenous cultures also routinely had same sex practices.
There is evidence of homosexuality occurring in Africa and the Americas between the indigenous people, though this was often ignored by European settlers and colonists.
In China, same-sex practices have been recorded since 600 BC.
Clearly, homosexuality has been a normal occurrence in nature and throughout history in many cultures. It bothers me that we have a society that’s willing to allow such bigotry on really weak premises.
It’s not all bleak though; recently we’ve made a lot of introspection, made changes and advanced to become a better society. We’ve progressed to allow for the right to life, equality and freedom of speech for all.
Now it’s time for us to allow freedom from ignorance.